Monday, July 18, 2011

Return to Iva

July 16,2011

What has happened to Mary and my host family over the past two years? I was able to spend a few hours with them on my most recent trip to Iva on the island of Savaii. In many ways they typify what family means in Samoa.

Our old little fale, house, is now occupied by the head of the family’s younger sister who has returned to permanently stay with her American husband after living in Hawaii for a number of years. She is the woman who wanted to adopt the young boy and grandnephew of the boy she is holding, Lawrence, named after her husband.

The daughter in the front row is pregnant expecting in November and is back living with the family after being a journalism student and reporter for the Samoan newspaper. I don’t know any details.

The other three girls are still in school. Although there are plans that the two oldest will go to New Zealand to continue their schooling and probably gain a dual citizenship.

Others not pictured are an older son studying for the priesthood who fathered a child with the woman in the next house; another son who has returned to a Catholic high school in hopes he eventually completes his education; a daughter and mother of Lawrence who lives in Apia with husband, her son, Nicholas, and daughter, Mary, and her younger brother; the eldest son who is living in Fiji and soon to become the village priest; and another older son, who has a son of his own with another woman, but is married to a Tongan.

As I sat in an open house with my host father and mother, I was amazed at the pride the man had for his expanding family and the acceptance of the woman. It really didn’t matter how the family grew or what the children’s futures may be, for they were an aiga, family. Somehow they would all look after one another under the grace of God.

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